Arreter Conjugation

Instructor: Emily France

Emily has experience teaching English and French and has a master's degree in International Studies

In this lesson, we will learn how to use the French verb arrêter, which means 'to stop.' We will explore its conjugation and find out how to correctly negate this verb.

Introducing the Verb Arrêter

When driving in France, Canada, or most other Francophone countries, you'll probably see some road signs with unfamiliar words. The most important to understand and obey is probably the red octagonal one we know as a stop sign, displaying with the word arrêt.

Arret is the French word for stop.
Arrêt sign

Arrêter, which means 'to stop,' is a common verb you'll see and use in several contexts. In addition to helping you know when to stop while driving, you can use this verb as a command to tell someone to stop doing something. For example:

  • Arrêtez de me parler! (Stop talking to me!)
  • Arrêter de faire le singe! (Stop monkeying--or messing--around!)
  • You could also use the simple command arrête ('stop' for people you know) or arrêtez ('stop' for strangers).

Arrêter can have some other meanings, too. For example, depending on the context, arrêter can also mean 'to arrest,' as in, La police a arrêté le voleur (the police arrested the thief). It's also the verb you would use if you wanted to hail a taxi (arrêter un taxi).

Note that the verb arrêter is almost always followed by the contraction de when being used with a verb, as seen in the examples above.

How to Conjugate Arrêter

Arrêter is a regular -er verb, which means that its conjugation follows the same pattern you would use for other regular verbs with this ending, like parler (to speak) or donner (to give). With these verbs, you simply use the stem of the verb (arrêt) and add the corresponding ending for each subject pronoun. Don't be fooled by the accent on the middle 'e'. Unlike some other verbs with changing accents, the circumflex on the 'e' in arrêter never changes, no matter how you conjugate it.

Here's a quick guide for how to conjugate arrêter in the present tense:

Subject Pronoun Arrêter Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
je j'arrête (zh-ah-reht) I stop/am stopping
tu tu arrêtes (too ah-reht) you (singular/informal) stop/are stopping
il/elle/on il/elle/on arrête (eel/el/ohn ah-reht) he/she/one stops/is stopping
nous nous arrêtons (nooz ah-reh-ton) we stop/are stopping
vous vous arrêtez (vooz ah-reh-tay) you (plural or singular/formal) stop/are stopping
ils/elles ils/elles arrêtent (eelz/elz ah-reht) they stop/are stopping

Quick Note on Pronunciation

Normally, you would not pronounce the 's' at the end of nous, vous, ils, or elles. However, because the verb arrêter starts with a vowel, you do in fact pronounce the 's' (although it sounds more like a 'z').

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